Luke Prokop, an N.H.L. Prospect, Announces He’s Gay

Luke Prokop, 19, a prospect with the Nashville Predators, on Monday turned the primary participant with an N.H.L. contract to publicly announce that he’s homosexual.

Prokop, who’s from Edmonton, Alberta, made his announcement in an Instagram publish, writing, “From a young age I have dreamed of being an N.H.L. player, and I believe that living my authentic life will allow me to bring my whole self to the rink and improve my chances of fulfilling my dreams.”

A 3rd-round choice by the Predators within the 2020 N.H.L. draft, Prokop wrote, “While the past year and a half has been crazy, it has also given me the chance to find my true self. I am no longer scared to hide who I am. Today I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay.”

Last month, Carl Nassib, a defensive finish with the Las Vegas Raiders, turned the primary energetic N.F.L. participant to return out. Prokop’s announcement comes at a time of accelerating acceptance and inclusiveness in worldwide sports activities. At least 142 publicly out L.G.B.T.Q. Olympians have been chosen for the Tokyo Games that start Friday, greater than double the quantity who participated within the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, based on Outsports.com.

Included is the primary identified transgender feminine athlete who has certified to compete, Laurel Hubbard, a weight lifter from New Zealand.

“The rise of social media, especially Instagram, has given athletes a forum where they can live their lives openly and identify directly with their followers,” Outsports wrote final week.

Prokop stated he hoped his declaration would present others that homosexual gamers are welcome in hockey. No energetic N.H.L. participant has come out as homosexual.

N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman thanked Prokop in a press release “for sharing his truth and for being so brave.”

Bettman stated in a press release, “I share his hope that these announcements can become more common in the hockey community. L.G.B.T.Q. players, coaches and staff can only perform at their absolute best if they live their lives as their full and true selves. We do not take the meaning and importance of this announcement lightly.”

Don Fehr, government director of the N.H.L. gamers’ union, stated, “We know the NHL hockey community will support Luke as he strives toward his goal of playing in the NHL, and we applaud the example he is setting for those in the game of hockey and beyond.”

The Predators stated in a press release the membership is “proud of Luke for the courage he is displaying in coming out today, and we will support him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years to come as he continues to develop as a prospect.”

Prokop advised ESPN that he struggled whereas taking part in final season for Calgary within the Western Hockey League and felt that popping out would put him at peace and allow him to play at a high stage. He stated he made his resolution in April.

“I was lying in bed one night, had just deleted a dating app for the fourth or fifth time, and I was extremely frustrated because I couldn’t be my true authentic self,” Prokop advised ESPN. “In that moment I said, ‘Enough is enough. I’m accepting who I am. I want to live the way I want to, and I want to accept myself as a gay man.’”

In his Instagram publish, Prokop wrote: “I may be new to the community but I’m eager to learn about the strong and resilient people who came before me and pave the way so I could be more comfortable today.”